The Writers Guild of America surprised the biz Sunday evening by informing members that it has reached a tentative agreement for a three-year master contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The pact is the successor to the bitterly fought contract set in 2008 after a 100-day strike that crippled the film and TV biz. News of the handshake deal comes six weeks before the May 1 expiration of the previous contract.

Key gains cited by the WGA include a hike in pension contributions from employers to 7.5 percent of total compensation paid to scribes, up from 6 percent, and a strong 20 percent increase in pay TV residuals, which has long been a sore spot for scribes. The pact also calls for a 2 percent increase in minimums.

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